The author of a study on Sunfest’s first year in action at the new location, and its impacts on Lake Cowichan, is coming to town later this month and everyone is invited to discuss her findings and recommendations.
On Nov. 30, Bridget Horel, economic development intern from Island Costal Economic Trust, will participate in a public discussion of her Sunfest Study, which looks at the festival’s effects on the town and offers some suggestions on how the municipality, businesses and community groups can better capitalize on the influx of people to this area.
The event, which is hosted by the chamber of commerce and the Town of Lake Cowichan, is open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to attend and to share their own thoughts and perspectives on what this year’s experience was like and how next year’s can be improved.
Brett Clancy, owner of Vancouver Island Labour Services and a chamber director, said it’s important for people to come out and join the discussion because Sunfest is a big deal.
“The implications of all the people coming to Lake Cowichan creates opportunity,” he said. “I think it would be good for local businesses and people to come and get an idea of what [Horel’s] report was and possibly get some insight into some opportunities that the community and town could implement.”
Some of Horel’s recommendations — like the idea of a community app to help visitors navigate the town and discover businesses, restaurants and attractions — were new and caught Clancy’s attention.
Others, were already undertaken by the Lake Economic Activity and Development (LEAD) committee before the report was even released, such as ways to recruit and retain volunteers.
Laketown Ranch will also have a representative present at the event.
“My hope is that the meeting will help the key players — the town, Laketown Ranch, businesses, and people — create a framework or good cohesive plan. That all interested parties can have a common goal and can work together to attain that goal,” said Clancy.
He said the chamber’s goal is to get as many people to attend as possible and hopefully come up with creative ideas that expand on Horel’s study and recommendations, furthering them or possibly making them more effective.
“Or maybe someone has their own idea that maybe we haven’t thought of,” said Clancy. “They can come and share it.”
The meeting will be held Nov. 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Upper Centennial Hall.